The Economics of Communism: With Special Reference to Russia's Experiment

By Leo Pasvolsky | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
AGRICULTURE AND THE PEASANTRY

RUSSIA is primarily an agricultural country; rural economy is the basis of her whole economic life. Eighty-five per cent. of her population is peasantry, traditionally either actually or in aspiration small land proprietors. Her methods of agriculture have always been primitive, non-capitalistic, except on a small number of large landed estates. In no domain of Russia's economic life, therefore, have the general conditions been less suited for the purpose of introducing Socialism and Communism; nowhere have greater difficulties been encountered. The attitude of the peasantry is the third fundamental human factor in the situation created in the course of Russia's experiment in the economics of Communism.

We have already seen in Part One what difficulties the Soviet régime faced from the point of view of the forms of a Socialistic scheme of agrarian arrangement, as well as some of the results achieved so far in this direction. We shall now examine in detail the various phases of the problem which the Soviet economic régime has been compelled to face in its relations with the peasantry, its attempts to organize agricultural production, and its efforts to solve the pressing questions of the food crisis.

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